The Bengaluru-based packaged food startup plans to expand its product portfolio, accelerate marketing and expand its distribution reach to over 50,000 retail outlets in the next three years.
Aavishkaar, the Impact Fund Advisory Firm and part of the Aavishkaar-Intellecap Group, through its Aavishkaar Bharat Fund, has committed Rs 35 crore in Kottaram Agro Foods, a Bengaluru-based packaged foods startup that markets its products under the brand ‘Soulfull’.
Soulfull brings traditional grains such as millets back to the consumer in modern avatars. The company processes ragi (finger millet) into breakfast and snack options such as flakes, ragi bites, muesli and ready-to-cook oat-millet meals.
In 2011, Kottaram Agro Foods was founded to bring back the goodness of India’s ancient grains in innovative product forms. The company is a DIPP (Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion)-recognised startup that works with State governments and leading research institutions to promote smart foods which are good for the consumers, the planet and the farmers.
On the company's first institutional investment, Prashant Parameswaran, MD and CEO of Kottaram Agro Foods said, “There are immense opportunities in the packaged foods industry in India, which is growing rapidly at 20-25 percent. The partnership with Aavishkaar will help Soulfull strengthen its product portfolio, accelerate marketing and expand its distribution reach to over 50,000 retail outlets in the next three years.”
“The tangential outcome of Soulfull products is to increase in demand of ancient grains that will address problems of marginal Indian farmers and reduce environmental stresses on land since these grains can grow in arid areas, are pest-resistant and need minimal fertilizers,” said Vineet Rai, MD of Aavishkaar.
In November 2017, Aavishkaar had raised $95 million in the first close of its $200-million 'Aavishkaar Bharat Fund'; Kottaram is the fund’s second investment. The fund is targeting early-to-mid stage investment opportunities in sectors such as healthcare, agriculture, clean technology, education and financial inclusion.